“Where is my place?” is an all-encompassing question that surrounds nearly every facet of our lives. For the UVa student, it includes more specific questions such as “Where am I supposed to be after graduating?” or “Where and with whom should I live beyond first year” or “Which major should I study?” These questions can easily be more debilitating than helpful because they chain people to worldly expectations of life and subsequently a fear of failing to meet such expectations. In the midst of this spiritual and existential confusion, I have found Theological Horizons to be a refreshing respite and place for considering these complex questions. Whether through monthly meetings as a Horizons Fellow or conversations with my stupendous mentor Evan Hansen, God has presented me reminders of His faithful truth to dispel the fears that accompany thoughts regarding place.
For one, everyone’s ultimate place is simply with God. In one of the most beautiful passages in scripture, God invites His people near to Him, saying, “Incline your ear and come to me; hear that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast sure love for David” (Isaiah 55:3). No matter what circumstance or context we face, we are meant to convene and commune with our Heavenly Father. Though we have done everything possible and more that is worthy of separation, He meets us where we are and vindicates us through the death and resurrection of the Christ. Thus, every morning, God invites us to receive His new mercies, to trust in His faithful promises, and to wield His strength to face the day. God is with us, we belong to Him, and He is in everything we do and everywhere we are.
Two, I find that an enormous part of place doesn’t pertain to location but rather to people. The University context presents an amazing opportunity to relate to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Thus, my place is with the Lord and with the people who know me well. In the past four years, no one has known me better than the very people I live with at the Benji, a house filled with eight guys in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. We all connected as wide-eyed, naïve first years in the same small group, and from there took the risk of living together in the same house. Needless to say, it has been the best decision of my life yet. What I’ll remember most about these brothers above the countless laughs, prayer, and good times is that during my third year when I was deep in the valley, these guys lifted me from the pit and showed me the love of Christ like no one ever could. As such, I implore any student to seek out friends who become family. The Lord intended for us to share life together and as such, our place is with people who are known by the same God.
With these two maxims in mind, I don’t want to fully disregard the questions of place that were mentioned in the beginning of these thoughts. Personally, the question “Where am I supposed to be after graduation” especially rings true as I am still in a state of uncertainty for the immediate future. Even so, I do not face that ambiguity with fear but rather I am encouraged to draw nearer to God and to my community to discern my next steps. For no matter where I am, my place is with the Lord and with the people He has placed near and dear in my life.